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Shaping the Future for Home Health Agencies Causes Several Obstacles

Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 5:48 PM

In-home care proves to be the future for the U.S. health care system. In order for providers to reach their full potential, important steps need to be taken. There are recommendations that can be found in conjunction with the publication of “The Future of Home Health Care: A Strategic Framework for Optimizing Value” in the peer-reviewed journal Home Health Care Management and Practice.

“In our interviews with policy leaders, including former policymakers at the highest levels of CMS, in addition to leaders in caregiving and health care system leaders, all really are in agreement that in the new models that are going to be the focus of health care delivery system reform, like bundling and ACOs, home health care is going to be a big winner,” Teresa Lee, executive director of AHHQI, told Home Health Care News. “So, in that context, what we’ve tried to build out in a discussion of this project is that we need to be leveraging that opportunity as a home health community.”

The future home health agency will play the following three critical roles:
• Providing post-acute and acute care at home
• Partnering with primary care
• Partnering with home- and community-based long-term care providers

The following three areas are needed for change:
• Regulatory barriers
• More flexibility
• Targeted fraud crackdowns

Next steps for moving forward
“I think that the most critical component of overcoming the current regulatory and administrative burden is effectively developing and communicating the evidence case for the value of home-based care,” Moorhead told HHCN. “It’s going to take real data, it’s going to require us to show that we have a cost savings opportunity in health care to help improve value, to get us that seat at the table we need in the design of those health care delivery models.”

“VNAA has also developed a database where we’re collecting data from many of our members, and we’ve developed a dashboard that demonstrates outcomes and impact,” she said. “We can track how our agencies are doing against a national average for specific conditions and populations, and this, too, is another component to that evidence-case for home-based care.”

The fact that CMS recently delayed the further rollout of pre-claim review is one reason to believe that policymakers indeed are receptive to the sort of evidence-based case that the home health industry can put together, Lee said.

The report concludes, “the pursuit of this transformation process has the potential to improve the way health care is delivered in America.”

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